Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Caregivers for elderly will always be needed

After reading about the lack of medical students who choose the field of geriatrics, I think it is a shame that the older population is the "forgotten" age.

When I was able to go to work at the age of 16, I wanted to work in a home for the aged. That was in 1964. I retired this year at the age of 65 and still love working with the elderly population. I have been an LPN since 1967 and have spent my entire working life in nursing homes.

I would love to know why this field doesn't have more interest. Don't medical students know that there will always be elderly people? Is it that the reimbursement for treatment isn't as high as in other specialties? Is it that doctors and nurses don't want to take or don't have the time to listen or figure out what an elderly, sometimes confused person is concerned about? Are we so concerned about the dollars we earn that we have stopped being really concerned about people?

I think it is sad. An elderly person has a lot to share if one just takes the time to listen. Sure, it might take time; certainly it will take patience. Everyone needs to realize that we all will get old and might need a helping hand at some point. Who then will be there for us?

If you have an elderly parent, aunt or uncle, take the time to give them a little more love. You will miss them when they are gone.

Jeanne Bittman, LPN, Dade City

Atwater upset with PIP rates | Nov. 30

New law won't fix system

Florida drivers should be aware of major changes that will take place in a few weeks in the event they are in an automobile accident. These changes are the result of personal injury protection, or PIP, legislation passed by the Republican majority in the Senate and House this year. The bill was passed with the help of a massive effort by the auto insurance lobby.

The new law will require all injured drivers to seek medical attention within 15 days of the accident or be denied coverage. It also restricts PIP coverage to $2,500, although Florida law says that you must purchase $10,000. The only way a patient can use the $10,000 in PIP is if the insurance company agrees with a physician that the injury is an "emergency medical condition." Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

It is unclear if common injuries like disc herniations and rotator cuff tears will be approved. Very likely, they will not. Massage therapy and acupuncture, both viable and natural alternatives for injuries, were eliminated. The new law also increases the amount of time the insurance company can pay a doctor or hospital and subjects all involved to a lengthy "examination under oath" to get approval for treatment.

The law stated that insurance companies must lower rates by Oct. 1, 2012, or provide reasoning why they did not. It should come as a surprise to no one that very few insurance companies lowered their rates.

Since the PIP system is broken, the Legislature should pass legislation to join the majority of states that require all drivers to carry what is called bodily injury coverage. This type of coverage requires the at-fault driver's insurance to pay for damages. Responsible drivers will pay less for coverage and poor drivers will pay more.

Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo

Florida water bodies are in excellent hands Dec. 4, commentary

Sadly, column was no joke

When I saw the guest column headlined "Florida water bodies are in excellent hands," I assumed it would be satire, perhaps a Colbertian evisceration of DEP's epic failure to protect our precious rivers, lakes and springs. But no: Drew Bartlett is seriously trying to defend his agency.

Never mind that the Department of Environmental Protection under the current administration has not exactly covered itself in glory. DEP acquiesced in agribusiness giant Lykes Bros.' plans to run a road through the marshes near Fisheating Creek, a public waterway. It issued an extravagant and ecologically indefensible wetlands mitigation permit to Highlands Ranch for land that is not wet. Then there's the agency's hysterical resistance to numeric standards for the nutrients that have turned large sections of the St. Johns, the St. Lucie and the Santa Fe rivers green with toxic algae.

I agree with Bartlett when he says DEP's scientists are dedicated professionals who work nights and weekends. They aren't the ones we have to worry about. It's political appointees such as DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and his deputy Jeff Littlejohn. For them, Florida's environment is just another business opportunity.

Diane Roberts, Tallahassee

Sun City Center

Things have changed

Del Webb would not recognize Sun City Center today from the retirement community he established over 50 years ago.

He would not understand why there are commercial trucks and vans parked in the driveways or on lawns. He would certainly not understand why an 18-wheeled semitrailer cab would be parked in front of a house for several days and nights. Let's take care of these issues before deciding on architectural designs for new buildings in the community.

My wife and I have been visiting Sun City Center for over 25 years and moved here permanently 2 ½ years ago. Over the 25-year period, the town has slowly shifted from a retirement community to a blue-collar, working-class neighborhood.

Bob Kelly, Sun City Center

Tough talk, no deal yet | Dec. 5

We had an election

The Republican offer to (1) raise the age for Social Security, (2) lower the cost-of-living adjustments on Social Security, (3) decrease Medicare and Medicaid assistance, and (4) impose no increase on taxes for the wealthy is why Barack Obama won the election.

Can you imagine if Mitt Romney had won? This would be a done deal. And the Republicans still back these same leaders? They don't care about the average person.

Carlos Gonzales, Oldsmar

In West Bank, joy, challenge | Dec. 3

World ignores the Kurds

That the U.N. General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine as a nonmember state is all well and good. But it makes me wonder about how 4 million people get such special treatment while 25 million-plus Kurds — who have been in their own homelands for hundreds of years, and are oppressed, to put it mildly, by every country they are in — get ignored. Is it because every member state they're in is Muslim-majority and therefore the 57 Muslim-majority countries that form a bloc agree to keep them from independence? Maybe. Is it because their aspirations for freedom have no lobby on the world stage? Is it because the Palestinians can be used as a wedge issue among other member states to keep their populations distracted from their own abysmal failures?

One never knows, but one thing is certain: Demonization and delegitimization of Israel continues apace, and the United Nations ignores many other humanitarian issues it faces.

Bob Tankel, Dunedin

Casting another line at Bass Pro | Dec. 1

No corporate handouts

Spending our taxes to lure a retail/tourist operation is not sound fiscal stewardship. There is no realistic economic development pitch you can make to justify this corporate welfare and low-paying jobs.

This area doesn't need to encourage retail development. Established local businesses that paid our fair share don't need our County Commission picking which favorites they back with our tax dollars. This company's modus operandi is taxpayer handouts. Don't do it.

Retail/tourist stores are not the kind of economic investment we expect. We demand economic investment that brings real, full-time and good-paying jobs, not the temporary, part-time and minimum-wage jobs being proposed.

Gene Wells, Tampa

Doctors back texting-driving ban Dec. 4, letter

Issue hits close to home

It's something short of a miracle that I can even offer this letter of support for a ban on texting and driving.

I was stopped for a traffic signal on my Harley on U.S. 19 in Holiday in February 2010 when I was rear-ended by a texting driver. I spent three months in the hospital recuperating from a broken hip and pelvis. Fortunately, I have returned to as healthy a state as can be hoped for a 72-year-old.

Why has Florida not acted on this issue?

David M. Childress, Palm Harbor


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18